17 Instructional Designer Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an instructional designer, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Instructional designers are in high demand in today’s economy. They are the professionals who develop instructional materials for both online and offline courses. They work with educators to determine the goals of a course and then create a curriculum that will help students achieve those goals. They also design tests and other assessment tools to ensure that students are learning what they are supposed to learn.

If you want to work as an instructional designer, you will need to be able to answer interview questions that assess your skills in this area. In this article, we will provide you with a list of common interview questions for instructional designers and suggest some possible answers.

Are you familiar with the concept of instructional design?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to gauge your knowledge of instructional design and how it relates to their organization. If you are not familiar with this concept, consider asking the interviewer to explain what it means before answering.

Example: “Instructional design is a process that involves creating learning experiences for students based on their needs. It’s important to understand the student’s current level of understanding and create an experience that will help them reach their goals. I’ve worked in several organizations where instructional design was part of the job description, so I am very familiar with the concept.”

What are some of the most important skills for an instructional designer to have?

This question can help interviewers understand what you value in an instructional designer. They may ask this question to see if your skills match the job description and company culture. When preparing for this question, read through the job description and highlight any skills that are important for the role. Then, think about which of those skills you have and how they helped you succeed in previous roles.

Example: “The most important skill for an instructional designer is creativity. Instructional designers need to be able to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems. I’ve always been creative, so it’s something I enjoy doing. Another important skill is communication. Instructional designers work with many different people, including developers, teachers and students. It’s important to be able to communicate effectively with all of them.”

How would you create an effective lesson plan?

Instructional designers need to be able to create effective lesson plans that are easy for students to understand. This question helps the interviewer assess your ability to plan lessons and develop curriculums. Use examples from past experience in creating lesson plans, including how you organized information and developed learning objectives.

Example: “I start by identifying what I want my students to learn. Then, I organize the curriculum into units with different topics. Next, I write a detailed outline of each unit, which includes key concepts, objectives and assessments. Finally, I create an overall schedule for when I will teach each unit.”

What is your experience with using technology in education?

Instructional designers use technology to create engaging learning experiences for students. Employers ask this question to learn about your experience with instructional design and how you incorporate technology into the process. Use your answer to share what types of software you’ve used in the past, as well as any specific projects you’ve worked on that involved using technology in education.

Example: “I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, so I am very familiar with creating digital content. In my last role, I was responsible for designing all aspects of our online courses, including the curriculum, assessments and resources. I also created an interactive platform where instructors could upload their own videos and slideshows. This allowed them to customize each course based on their teaching style.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to work with a difficult client or subject matter expert.

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills and ability to work with challenging personalities. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of how you managed the situation or what strategies you used to improve your relationship with the client or expert.

Example: “In my last role as an instructional designer, I worked with a subject matter expert who was very knowledgeable about their field but had a difficult personality. The company hired me to create training materials for new employees that were easy to understand and implement. However, the subject matter expert would often change the information I provided because they felt it wasn’t accurate enough.

I learned that the subject matter expert was just trying to ensure the training materials were correct. So, I met with them one-on-one and explained why the changes they wanted weren’t necessary. After explaining my reasoning, they understood and agreed to let me proceed with the project.”

If hired, what would be your first steps in learning about our company and its goals?

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your research and planning skills. They want to know how you will use the information they share with you to create a plan for designing an effective learning experience for their employees. In your answer, explain that you would first do some background research on the company’s history, values and goals. You would also talk to managers or other key stakeholders to understand what they hope to achieve through training initiatives.

Example: “I always start my projects by researching the client’s organization and its current state. I would read up on your company’s mission statement and recent news releases to get a better idea of where you are headed as a business. Then, I would speak with several managers and department heads to learn more about their specific needs and challenges. This helps me develop a design that meets multiple objectives.”

What would you do if you were given a budget but not given specific guidelines on how to spend it?

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to work independently. Use examples from past experiences where you had a budget but were not given specific guidelines on how to spend it.

Example: “In my last role, I was given a budget of $10,000 per course that I designed. However, the company did not provide me with any specific guidelines on how to spend the money. In this situation, I would first determine what resources I needed for each course. For example, if I needed to purchase software licenses or hire freelancers, I would use the budget to do so. If there was any remaining money after completing these tasks, I would save it for future projects.”

How well do you work under pressure?

Instructional designers often work under tight deadlines. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the pressure of working on a project with a short timeline. In your answer, share how well you manage time and stress. Explain that you are organized and able to meet deadlines. Show them that you have experience managing projects with strict timelines.

Example: “I am very organized and I always meet my deadlines. In my last role, I was responsible for creating all of our training materials. This meant I had to create content for multiple courses at once. I learned to manage several projects at once by using project management software. I also set aside time each day to check in on my progress. This helped me stay on track and complete all of my tasks before their due date.”

Do you have any experience creating virtual reality experiences?

Instructional designers often use virtual reality to create immersive learning experiences for students. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary skills to succeed in their role. If you do not have any experience creating VR, consider taking a course or doing some research on how to develop these types of experiences.

Example: “I haven’t had the opportunity to design virtual reality experiences yet, but I am very interested in trying it out. I’ve been following developments in the field and know that there are many different ways to create VR experiences. I would love to learn more about designing with Unity and other tools.”

When working with subject matter experts, how do you ensure that they understand the importance of clear communication?

Instructional designers often work with subject matter experts to create effective learning materials. Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your collaboration skills and how you can help others be successful in their roles. In your answer, explain a specific situation where you helped someone communicate clearly.

Example: “I always make sure that I understand the information before I start designing any materials. This helps me know what questions to ask my subject matter expert so they can provide clear answers. When working with them on projects, I also try to keep things simple by asking for one piece of information at a time. This allows them to focus on communicating only one idea at a time rather than trying to remember everything all at once.”

We want to improve our customer service staff’s ability to answer common questions. What would you do to help our employees learn common questions and answers?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you would apply your instructional design skills to improve an organization’s customer service. Use examples from previous experience or explain what you would do if you didn’t have any prior experience.

Example: “I would first conduct a needs assessment by interviewing customers and employees to determine which questions are most common. Then, I would create training materials for each of these questions that include answers and tips on how to answer them more efficiently. This could be in the form of a video, online course or other format that is easy to access and use.”

Describe your process for creating a learning path.

An interviewer may ask this question to understand how you plan and organize your work. Your answer can show an interviewer that you have a process for organizing your tasks, which can help them see how you might fit into their organization. Consider describing the steps you take when planning a learning path and how you prioritize your time and resources.

Example: “I start by researching the topic I’m designing a course around. Then, I create a list of objectives students should meet before they complete the course. Next, I develop my outline based on those objectives and decide what type of content I’ll use to teach each objective. Finally, I begin creating the actual course.”

What makes a good lesson plan?

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your teaching philosophy. They want to know how you plan lessons and what makes them effective for students. Use your answer to explain the steps you take when creating a lesson plan, including any techniques or strategies that help you create an engaging learning experience.

Example: “A good lesson plan should be clear and easy to understand. I always make sure my lesson plans are organized so students can follow along with ease. I also like to include visuals in my lesson plans because they help students retain information better than text alone. When I’m developing a lesson plan, I try to think of it as if I were the student. This helps me ensure that the content is interesting and relevant.”

Which learning theories do you most closely identify with and why?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of learning theories and how they can be applied in instructional design. You should identify a few that you are familiar with, explain why you chose them and provide examples of how you have used them in the past.

Example: “I most closely identify with VARK, which stands for visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic. I believe these four learning styles are important to consider when designing any course because it’s essential to make sure all students feel engaged and understand the material. In my last role, I was tasked with creating a training program for new employees at a large corporation. I used VARK to create different modules for each employee based on their preferred learning style.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of creating an engaging learning experience?

The interviewer may ask you this question to understand your approach to instructional design. Your answer can show the interviewer how you prioritize different aspects of a learning experience and what you think is most important in creating an effective course or program.

Example: “I believe that the most important aspect of creating an engaging learning experience is ensuring that it’s relevant to the learner. If I create a course that doesn’t address the needs of the learners, they won’t be able to apply the information to their jobs or daily lives. To ensure relevance, I always conduct thorough research on the target audience before beginning any project. This helps me develop content that meets the needs of the learner.”

How often do you think instructional designers should update their skills and knowledge?

This question can help interviewers understand your commitment to continuous learning and development. Your answer should show that you are willing to invest in yourself by keeping up with the latest trends in instructional design. You can also use this opportunity to share any certifications or training programs you’ve completed recently.

Example: “I think it’s important for instructional designers to stay on top of their skills and knowledge because technology is always changing. I try to attend at least one conference a year where I can learn about new tools, techniques and strategies. I also subscribe to several online newsletters and blogs so I can read articles and watch videos when I have time.”

There is a new learning theory that could dramatically improve the effectiveness of your designs. How would you learn about it and integrate it into your work?

Instructional designers must be open to new learning theories and methods. They should also have the ability to learn about them quickly and integrate them into their work. This question helps employers determine if you are willing to adapt your designs as needed. In your answer, explain that you would research this theory online or in a book. You can also mention that you would ask colleagues for recommendations on how to learn more about it.

Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my instructional design process. If I were presented with a new learning theory, I would first do some research online to find out what it is all about. Then, I would read up on any books written by its creator. Finally, I would reach out to my colleagues who use this method to get their advice on how to implement it.”


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